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Wolverhampton hospital is "first in the country" to set up visor-making factory in-house

By Megan Archer | Wolverhampton | Coronavirus | Published:

Medical staff at a Black Country hospital have been busy making more than 100,000 visors for their colleagues to protect them from the dangers of Covid-19.

Mel Riley, lead for visor production and David Loughton, chief executive at RWT

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross Hospital in the city and Cannock Chase and West Park hospitals, is believed to be the first Trust to tackle the NHS-wide shortage of visors by making them in-house.

Bosses have called in specialists to handle the tasks who usually help with facial reconstruction for patients after surgery – and have turned the library at New Cross into a mini factory.

Chairman of the board at RWT Professor Steve Field said there had been "unprecedented demand" for visors and other forms of PPE, which is why they had decided to start making them at the Trust.

He said: "We couldn’t source visors in the volumes and to the specification we needed, so we decided to start making them in-house. Our clinical staff say they’re the best visors they've ever used."

A team of staff from the three sites have made more than 100,000 visors since starting production on April 10 – with the factory manufacturing about 5,000 every day

About 3,000 visors go to staff at New Cross, which has 850 beds, and the other 2,000 are shared between the trust’s smaller Cannock Chase and West Park hospitals, community health services and GP practices it runs, and local care homes.

Laboratory manager at New Cross Dave Ellis designed the visor. His usual job in the hospital's maxillofacial department, involves the making of prosthetic ears, eyes and noses for patients who have had those body parts removed, usually as a result of cancer surgery.

He works to make visors in a team of 34, which includes a nurse, healthcare assistant, a porter, medical students and a cardiac scientist. Some of them became involved after being removed from frontline duties because health problems put them at greater risk from Covid-19.

A spokesperson for The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust told the Express & Star: "To reach the 100,000 mark in such a short space of time is a real testament to the hard work and dedication of the teams taking part.

"The beauty of this project has been the way we have seen people adapt to a new way of working and developing new skills. We have taken a team from a really diverse set of backgrounds, put them together and come up with a really useful product that is fit for purpose and has helped the staff on the front line feel more secure in their work."

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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